Friday, November 5, 2010
Although City of Fulton officials were proceeding Wednesday with plans to place an ordinance based on the smoking ban approved by city residents on Tuesday on the budget for the next city council meeting, information uncovered Thursday morning proved those plans unnecessary.
“We spent some time this morning reviewing (the city charter),” Director of Administration Bill Johnson said. “Prior to doing the investigation, we were treating this as any other ordinance up for approval by the council, but the charter has a specific way of handling a petition initiative.
“The charter was written so that a citizens’ vote trumps council action, so the city council really has no role in approving the ordinance that was presented.”
He said according to the charter, an ordinance approved by petition referendum is approved when the votes are certified, and is effective 30 days after that date. County Clerk Linda Love said Tuesday’s election votes were officially certified by the judges Tuesday night, and the certification letter was sent Thursday.
“So it looks like around December 2nd or 3rd, the no-smoking ban will become effective,” Johnson said.
He said the city still plans to send out a letter to Fulton business owners affected by the new voter-approved ordinance, which states, “Smoking shall be prohibited in all enclosed places of employment within the city of Fulton.”
The Fresh Air Fulton ordinance says that any owner, manager, operator or employee of a Fulton business must direct a person who is smoking to stop, or refuse service and ask them to leave the premises. If the person in violation refuses to leave the premises, the owner, manager, operator or employee is to contact law enforcement.
Anyone who smokes in an area where smoking is banned is subject to a fine not exceeding $50. Any person who owns, manages, operates or otherwise controls a public place or place of employment and fails to comply with the ordinance will be guilty of an infraction and fined up to $100 for the first violation, up to $200 for the second violation within one year and up to $500 for each additional violation within one year.